Chanel is ready to unveil its newest boutique at The Shops at Crystals in Las Vegas. The 7,500-square-foot store, which opens Thursday, will showcase the house’s ready-to-wear, handbags, shoes, costume jewelry and accessories, as well as watches and fine jewelry.
Designed by New York-based architect Peter Marino, the boutique features a new design. The store took about 18 months to build from start to finish.
Chanel joins such international luxury brands as Dior, Louis Vuitton, Bottega Veneta, Hermès, Cartier, Gucci, Fendi, Tom Ford, and Tiffany & Co. at The Shops at Crystals.
At present, Chanel has 24 stand-alone boutiques and about 40 full-line department store locations in the U.S., according to Joyce Green, general manager of Chanel. With the latest boutique, the brand has three locations in Las Vegas — at the Wynn Las Vegas (newly expanded) and the Bellagio. In February, Chanel closed its store in the Encore, which is a separate Vegas hotel, but connected to the Wynn.
“We keep our distribution in terms of number of locations the same, but we wanted to have more differentiation of location,” said Green, noting that the Crystals store will cater more to a local customer than the stores at Wynn and Bellagio, which are in hotels with casinos.
Marino’s design is an ode to the neon-lit luxury and flamboyance that Vegas is known for, while remaining in step with the ethos of the house. The single-floor boutique features a double-height black-and-white stone facade outside, while the interior has references to Gabrielle Chanel’s iconic Paris atelier, including custom woven fabric and plaster wall coverings. In the shoe salon, two Goossens custom rock crystal and bronze chandeliers glitter overhead. In the rtw salon, a pair of Louis XV Fauteuil armchairs sit alongside a custom mirrored screen. Throughout the store, gold accents reflect Vegas’ famed glamour.
The boutique houses the spring 2022 collection, designed by Chanel artistic director Virginie Viard. The collection draws inspiration from Karl Lagerfeld’s photography and the glamour of the house’s favorite supermodels who fell under his lens. There are bright miniskirt and mini-short summery suiting in tweed and crochet, flowing chiffon dresses printed with butterfly wings, and sheer swim cover-ups worn over simple maillots, tied with a bow at the waist. Handbags feature quilted leather, with metal chain interfaced with leather and adorned with the “Chanel” signature composed of gold or lacquered metals letters. Costume jewelry inspired by dangling pink No.5 dice are a wink to lucky Vegas customers.
Asked who Chanel is targeting with the new Crystals store, Green said: “It’s a combination, but the local population in the last two years has grown tremendously. We’re also seeing more American local tourists coming to Vegas and of course, when international travel becomes more of what it was pre-COVID[-19], we will welcome back many more international tourists as well.”
While many of her competitors are already at the Crystals, Green said they took their time to find the right location. “For us we don’t need to be first. We just need to look the best. We take our time in making distribution decisions,” said Green.
Chanel took over space formerly occupied by Versace.
Upon entering the store, there’s a mixed visual merchandising area, where all the product categories are represented. A focal point is an enlarged shoe salon, which is something the brand is doing in more boutiques to improve their presence and to create a warm environment for shoes. That leads into rtw with two salons, with the ability to close off the area for private appointments. Accessories, handbags, leather goods, textiles, belts and costume jewelry round out the assortment.
Green said Chanel has a good mix of street-front locations, such as New York, Beverly Hills, San Francisco and Miami, as well as mall locations. Marino is building and designing a boutique in Beverly Hills that will open next year, an expanded footprint on the existing location.
Green believes that the Crystals mall store, with its local clientele, will perform differently than those at the Vegas hotels. “The Wynn and Bellagio are more within the hotels and casinos, and Crystal is a bit more separate and you can park more like you’re going to just shop,” she said. In Vegas, all of the company’s locations are on a single floor. “It’s a nice way for a client who comes in to see all categories at once through the different entryways.”
Chanel has high expectations for the overall store, and specifically rtw and footwear.
“We are growing in ready-to-wear and shoes, and those categories will have a very nice presence as well as watches/fine jewelry. All categories are strong, and I think we’ll have a different assortment, we call it one boutique, one story. Each boutique has a little different flavor of product, color, style and silhouette, and each location will have some uniqueness,” said Green.
While she declined to divulge sales projections, she said: “Vegas is already in high double digits in increases, and we expect to do more volume than we did in Encore. The Vegas market is contributing to strong double-digit growth for us.”
In fact, she called the Vegas market “on fire and [it] is exceeding expectations.”
Chanel plans an opening for Thursday and events throughout the fall season to engage local clients. “There will be events in Vegas that will be outside the boutique in a special location geared to their local clients,” she said.
Despite a worker shortage in the U.S., staffing the Vegas store hasn’t been difficult. Green said they’ve had mobility among their teams and have 22 staff members who speak 13 languages. “It’s very international and very diverse, and people who have joined our team also came from Encore. We also increased and added more staff, and have a multilanguage, multiculture team crossing all roles.”
She pointed out that the sales staff is not on commission. “We have a team structure compensation program that creates an environment of teamwork and client service. Our service is the driver, more than sales,” she said. The Chanel store will be open seven days.
“My expectations are more around service and experience than they are about sales to be very honest. I have every faith that it will exceed our sales projection. What I want is that the environment creates an inviting space and that we attract new clients and we also develop deeper relationships with local clients. And we showcase Chanel in a new way in an important market,” said Green.
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